Sunday, August 26, 2018

The Third Way

Image result for trichotomies image

1.

- Individual and society. Society corrupts individuals, who then seek to perfect society, to find the society that won't corrupt the individual, and then find that any fixed form of society corrupts the individual because in the service of making that society any form of violence, any means to that end, can be justified.
- Expressed by Huxley when he wrote that the only end worth adjusting means to attain was charity, that is, kindness.
- Which cannot provide a defined form of society. Yet, why not?
- Because kindness done by society defining rules is not kindness.
- Because kindness arises from sympathy, a fellow feeling. Kindness is a relation between one individual and another, a sort of third way between self concerned individuality and selfless social conformity. Language is not the same as thought. The upscale world of classical physics is not the same as the quantum scale world - that's as far as I've got. Your thoughts on this?
- The social world works with anonymous atoms. Atoms are types of things isolated from one another. The quantum world works with obscurely entangled particles. The types of things ordered by rules, experimentally discovered, is the work-in-progress society, is more rule guided language than continuously merging thought. While the quantum world is that of individuals who can't be understood separate from their relations to other individuals, a relation established and reestablished on a case by case basis.
- And?
- The French Revolution brings about the totalitarianism of the Terror. Rousseau's endangered individual is told to lose himself in a societal 'general will'. American democracy delivers itself up to a general will that is a collective acting out of a gangster's self-willed individuality.
- The human being isn't getting it right, not for long, not finding that third way of the individual experimenting with rules, attached neither to any defined form of society nor to a self-destroying individualism.


2.

- That old woman* I told you about, the one who thought it was impolite to be concerned with the private life of the people around her, involving herself instead in details of the lives of the famous? She came back to LA where she lived most her life from her isolated rural home with her friend, another old woman. Why? To be back in the thick of things. The acquaintance she stayed with in LA turned her out, and with not enough income to pay for hotels or even a room, ends up nights sleeping on the street, days hanging out at cafes. The possessions -  clothing, bags, photographs, manuscripts - she left with her betraying LA acquaintance he later claimed were stolen from his place. She tells me she wanted to reestablish herself in LA, but with her portfolio and printed resumes gone, and no place to live, job search was out of the question. From stress and sleeplessness she's become emaciated and developed serious health problems from never lying down: most of her money's going to paying doctors for treatment instead of paying rent she can't afford. I tell her every time I see her: Go home! She refuses. Too isolated there. Her friend whom she's still in good relations with and regularly talks to on the phone: she asks too much from her. Too much money, too much help. Is it better, I ask, to slowly die on the streets of LA? Be robbed or murdered by one of the thousands of roving derelicts out at night? She says she appreciates my concern, my health advice about resting horizontal; she is trying to be careful. She claims unconvincingly those health problems prevent her travelling, and repeats her unwillingness to return to rural isolation. I say:
- So you came to LA to join in the community of robbers and murderers?
- There are a lot of nice people here.
- Where?
- This market for example.
- They don't like you here. They're being polite. Or they pity you.
- How do you know?
- Wearing the same clothes every day, carrying around with you that tattered plastic shopping bag, you make it easy for them to type you as destitute, someone with no friends, no family, no job, no money, no past and no future.
- You're wrong.
- You came to LA to wander days among strangers, be treated by them with well intended gestures of kindness, and risk death every night sleeping on some bench on the street, when you have a home with a friend who wants you to return.
- It's my life. I'm not going to explain myself to you.
- Fine. I've warned you.
- And I appreciate it. 
- Do you see why I told you this story?
- No, I don't.
- This old woman, she's a sort of runaway, she's on a pilgrimage.
- Seeking what?
- The third way between individual selfishness and total-society. On her own, living by her own choices, and living among others for their gestures of kindness.
- But she has no place to live. And sounds like from what you say she is slowly dying.
- She's mixed the categories of individuality and society, but both are empty.
- Yet it seems to work for her. She must be crazy.

Further Reading:
The Forest & The Trees
__________________________
* The Bag